New agency will speed up adoption for children in care

A new adoption agency will offer children in care the stability and security they need to achieve their potential.

The launch of the Regional Adoption Agency (RAA), part of Adoption East Midlands, will transform the lives of children and their adoptive families.

Every year the RAA will be looking for families for approximately 160 children.

The Government’s vision behind the regionalisation of adoption services is to accelerate the pace of change to ensure those children, for whom adoption is the right path, are given the best chance of finding a loving and stable family as quickly as possible.

Incorporating Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottingham City Council, Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council, the Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) will work collaboratively across the East Midlands to encourage more people to become adopters, which in turn leads to markedly improving the life chances of children in care.

As well as the RAA, Adoption East Midlands comprises a regional partnership incorporating Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Lincolnshire County Council and Rutland County Council and two voluntary adoption agencies, CORAM East Midlands and Faith in Families.

Shelagh Mitchell, Group Manager Adoption East Midlands, said: “We want every child to be in the loving, stable home that’s right for them, and adoption can transform the lives of these vulnerable children – and their adoptive families – in a remarkable way.

“By coming together and joining forces through the work of RAAs, councils can use the network to match children with the right families much more quickly.”

“RAAs will be the platform on which a modernised adoption service is built; providing better support to adopters and to meet the needs of children waiting for adoption.”

A key aim of the RAA is to encourage more people who express an interest in adoption to attend information events and hear from people who have already gone through the process.

Shelagh added: “We need to celebrate adoption success stories and show at first-hand how loving families change the lives of children in care.”

“We will also give people expressing an interest in adoption the information they need to make a life-changing decision. This will include dispelling a number of myths surrounding the adoption process and challenging unhelpful perceptions.”

Across the East Midlands adopters are needed for sibling groups of two or three children, children with additional needs, children from a BME background and school age children.

 “Although we have priority needs in different regions, our message is clear, we welcome anyone who has interest in adopting children and who wants to make a difference to children’s lives,” Shelagh added.  

Case Study: Kyle and Steven from Nottinghamshire

Kyle and Steven decided to adopt siblings after they knew they wanted more than one child.

Steven said: “Our main motivation for adopting was that we both came from large families and we knew that we wanted to have a busy household with all the energy and fun that children create.

“We love the idea of keeping siblings together and to be honest they probably settled a bit better quicker because there was that sense that wherever the others were, they were meant to be.”

Kyle admitted the experience was not without its challenges: “There are always challenges having three young children of a similar age in terms of meeting all their needs… but it’s also wonderful, exciting and keeps you young, and something we’d not change at all.”

The couple both agreed adopting siblings has been one of the best decisions they made with Steven adding: “If you’ve got the time, and the energy, and the space, to adopt siblings it’s an amazing and wonderful thing to do because they have each other, you are keeping a family together and you have a ready-made family that have that established connection. We’ve never regretted it for a single moment.

See Steven and Kyle at home discussing why they adopted and why it could be right for you at www.adoptioneastmidlands.org.uk/stories

Case study: Paula and Tim from Nottinghamshire

Paula and Tim had two teenage daughters when they adopted a five-year-old girl.

Paula said: “We involved our teenagers throughout the adoption process as we felt it was important that they were on board from the start.

“If you’ve got birth children and you’re thinking of adopting, what’s important is to talk to them about it quite openly, find out what they feel and what they think.

“Our birth daughters are exceptionally proud and protective of their little sister. If you ask them they think we should adopt more children.”

Paula and Tim also praised the support they received from the local authority.

Tim added: “If you need help and support it is there, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. We found ourselves in situations where the advice we received was invaluable and it helped us deal with issues and move on to the next stage.”

Tim and Paula discuss their adoption journey, see their video here www.adoptioneastmidlands.org.uk/stories

Find out more about adoption at www.adoptioneastmidlands.org.uk or come along to an information event (details are available on the website) and have a chat about how adoption could create the family you’ve always wanted.

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